Q: What do you do when you have a whole lot of things left on your shelf that you simply can’t sell?
A: You raise the price.
If that sounds counter-intuitive, or even dumb, that’s because it is.
Yet that’s precisely what New Zealand’s sellers of labour have just gone and done. At a time when unemployment is going up and more and more would-be labourers are being left on the shelf, they’ve gone and raised the price of their labour. Or rather, they’ve had it raised for them.
Because try though they might, their government has once again made it illegal for them to agree to sell their labour at anything less than the govt’s own chosen rate—which minister Kate Wilkinson has just put up, being raised today by this National-led imbecile of a government to a minimum legal wage of $13/hour in the same week that figures were released showing unemployment continuing to rise.
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
It’s not like they raised it by mistake, either. They did this before, right at the very start of this Great Recession, right along with the abolition of Youth Rates—leading to the truly unsurprising result that unemployment among those looking for unskilled work or “starter jobs” has continued to rise, with more than one-in four youngsters aged 15-19 now unable to get started on the employment ladder; more than one-in-six Maori; and more than half of the single parents.
Well done John Boy. Well done Kate Wilkinson. You dumbarses.
Not only do you make it more difficult for low-income job-hunters to get the start, by raising costs to the country’s employers (or, equally, by reducing the number they can employ for the same money) you also make it more difficult to raise productivity. Which is where real wage rises really come from, not from wishful thinking rubber stamped by half-wit politicians.
Now if Hone had any balls, or any brains, instead of several more weeks of grandstanding he’d be hammering this racist imposition on Maori employment for all he’s worth. He’d be pointing out
“One of the more insidious effects of minimum wages is that it lowers the cost of racial discrimination; in fact, minimum wage laws are one of the most effective tools in the arsenals of racists everywhere.”
That he won’t be is a measure of where his true interests (and brains) really lie.